Dental Cleaning Process: Everything You Need to Know

How a Dental Cleaning Works

Standard dental cleanings are simple and quick treatments that provide our Wasilla patients with clean, healthy teeth. Learn what to expect from our dentist when you come in for your routine tooth cleaning!young woman getting her teeth examined at the dentist


Before your dental cleaning begins, our dental hygienist or dentist will perform an oral exam to check for any signs of dental problems such as cavities or gum disease. These exams are essential for determining the condition of your oral health, and if you’ll need any additional treatments. They may also take X-rays to get a more detailed image of your teeth.

Periodontal Pocket Measurements

Before the teeth are cleaned, your periodontal pockets are measured to assess the health of your gums and detect any signs of gum disease. Periodontal pockets refer to the spaces or gaps that can develop between the teeth and gums when gum tissue becomes inflamed and pulls away from the teeth.

To measure these pockets, the following will happen:

  1. Insertion of the Probe: The periodontal probe is gently inserted into the space between the gum and the tooth, reaching down to the bottom of the pocket.
  2. Measurement: The probe has markings on its tip, typically in millimeters, which allow the dental professional to measure the depth of the periodontal pocket. The probe is moved around the tooth, measuring the depth at several points.
  3. Recording Measurements: The dental professional records the depth of each periodontal pocket, typically by charting it in a dental chart. The information helps in diagnosing gum disease and monitoring the progression or improvement of the condition during subsequent visits.

Plaque and Tartar Removal

Using specialized tools, your dental hygienist will perform a plaque and tartar removal. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on teeth and can lead to cavities and gum disease. Tartar is a hard mineral deposit that forms when plaque isn’t removed and can only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. You may feel some sensitivity during this process, but it shouldn’t be painful.

Cleaning and Polishing

Once the plaque and tartar have been removed, your dentist will clean and polish your teeth using special gritty toothpaste and a high-powered electric brush. This process removes surface stains and any excess plaque, leaving your teeth feeling smooth and clean.

Professional Flossing

Your hygienist or dentist will then floss between the teeth to remove any remaining plaque or food particles. Flossing is essential during a dental cleaning because it can reach areas between teeth that are difficult to clean with a toothbrush.


You’ll be asked to rinse your mouth out to remove any debris or leftover toothpaste from the cleaning.

Fluoride Treatment

Depending on your oral health, our dentist may recommend a fluoride treatment to help protect your teeth from decay. Fluoride is a mineral that can help remineralize teeth and make them more decay-resistant. The fluoride treatment may be applied as a gel, foam, or varnish that is brushed onto the teeth and left to sit for a few minutes before being rinsed off.

Follow-Up Recommendations

Based on the assessment and cleaning, your dentist may recommend any necessary treatments or procedures for any oral health issues that were identified. They’ll also schedule you for your next teeth cleaning.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I have dental anxiety?
Can I eat or drink before a dental cleaning?
What should I do if I have dental anxiety?

If you have dental anxiety, talk to your dentist about your concerns. They may be able to offer sedation options such as nitrous oxide or prescribe anti-anxiety medication to help you relax during the procedure.

Can I eat or drink before a dental cleaning?

It’s best to avoid eating or drinking anything before a dental cleaning, especially if you’re getting a fluoride treatment. Food and drink can interfere with the effectiveness of the fluoride treatment.

Experience a Comfortable Visit With Our Wasilla Dentist

A dental cleaning appointment is crucial to help maintain good oral hygiene and prevent dental problems. By understanding how dental cleaning works and taking care of your teeth afterward, you can ensure healthy teeth and gums for years. If you’re in the Wasilla, AK, area, contact our dentist by dialing (907) 373-2440 to schedule your dental cleaning appointment.

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